G7 Could Move Financing for Famine Relief, Says Religious Development Group

As G7 leaders continue to meet in Taormina, Italy, relief groups like Oxfam International are intensifying calls for aid monies to address famine. Twenty million people are suffering the affects of famine and ‎the UN calls for $6.3 billion in aid. While the G7 discusses the crisis, a religious development group says debt relief and promoting transparency could be important aspects of dealing with the crisis in both the short and long term.

“We all have a moral responsibility to stop starvation, no one should die of hunger," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. LeCompte's organization won debt relief for the three countries impacted by the Ebola crisis to provide financing for health care. “President Trump and the G7 must provide the moral leadership to stop people dying from hunger. They have a lot of tools at their disposal.”

The UN declared South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen as famine-affected countries. Somalia has debt from loans borrowed decades ago that has ballooned to a debt burden of over $5 billion. A large portion of that debt is held by G7 countries.

“The G7 should again turn to debt relief to provide monies to deal with hunger and malnutrition,” continued LeCompte, who advises UN groups, religious leaders, and government officials on resolving financial crises.‎ “Somalia is a country that benefits from debt relief."

Famine-affected countries are also losing substantial monies to tax evasion and corruption. Global Financial Integrity reports that Yemen is losing roughly $307mn and Nigeria is losing more than $17mn annually to these "illicit financial flows". 

“Tackling corruption and tax evasion is critical for poor countries to harness revenue to deal with crisis and find a path to growth,” expressed LeCompte.